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03/31/2017

The country with the most U.S. visa refusals is not named in Trump’s travel ban

Central Havana, Cuba. These foreign citizens had the most trouble getting American visas last year
WVN Editor’s Note: This report was originally published on Market Watch.

The residents of some countries have a harder time visiting the U.S. than others.

Cuban citizens had the highest refusal rates (81.9%) among B visitor visa applications for tourist or business purposes last year, according to U.S. Department of State data crunched by the statistics site Statista. That’s up from 76% the year before. Cubans are followed by residents of Afghanistan (73.8%), Mauritania (71.5%), Liberia (70.2%) and Gambia (69.9%). This is even higher than the rate of rejection for many of the country’s on President Trump’s travel ban. Of the six Muslim-majority countries on Trump’s travel ban — Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Libya and Sudan — Somalia had the highest rejection rate (around 65%).

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To acquire these visas, people must prove “nonimmigrant intent,” and show they have both the intent and the funds to return home and Cuba’s higher rejection rate reflects the inability (as far as U.S. immigration is concerned) that they can do that. The number of Cubans entering the U.S. has spiked dramatically since former President Barack Obama announced a renewal of ties with the island nation in late 2014, according to the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank. Some 56,406 Cubans entered the U.S. via official channels in 2016, up 31% from 43,159 the year before, the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows.

Chart created by Statista

Earlier this month, President Trump issued a revised travel ban placing restrictions on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Like a similar executive order he signed in February, this was also blocked by a federal court judge. In his ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said it mattered that Trump as a candidate had called for a ban on the entry of Muslims into the U.S. Such statements “betray the Executive Order’s stated secular purpose,” he said. A federal appeals court agreed to fast-track President Trump’s revised executive order, which bans U.S. entry for people from six Muslim-majority countries. It set oral arguments for May 8.

Immigrants made up nearly one-fifth of the total U.S. workforce in 2014, or about 27.6 million workers out of 161.4 million. About 19.6 million workers, or 12% of the total workforce, were in the U.S. legally (and 8 million illegally). Roughly 10% of unauthorized immigrants have been granted temporary protection from deportation and eligibility to work under two federal programs, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status. The data are based on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and cover all workers age 16 and above.

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